Mary Did You Know?

Thursday, December 11, 2014
And... on to another Christmas video that is incredible.

I saw this video two years ago and it has stuck with me ever since.
It hit me for the first time what it must have been like to be Mary.
Can you even imagine?
Giving birth to the Savior of the world, raising him, then seeing him die right in front of your very own eyes.
My goodness.
After seeing this video I thought more deeply about her role and how much trust God put in her to carry his only begotten son.
It's amazing to me really.
Also, I really love how this video displays his life.

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

30 whole weeks!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I have been growing a tiny person inside of me for 30 whole weeks!
I can't believe it!
This little girl is everything Hunter and I have dreamed of, and we haven't even met her yet!
I can't believe that this time next year I'll have a 10 month old!
Hunter the other day, told me that he hopes she starts walking right away so he can run around and play with her sooner haha!
He is so excited to be our little one's daddy.
Little girl's name starts with an "O" so I think I'll start calling her Baby O.
I think she likes her name, she always responds to it.
She's a crazy little thing.
I'll be on an airplane to Miami next week.
I sure hope this whole flying while pregnant thing goes well.
If you have any tips, feel free to let me know :)

How Far Along: 30 whole weeks! Hello third trimester!
Maternity clothes: Just wearing maternity pants. Which I'm still convinced are the greatest pair of pants any woman will ever own. As far as shirts go, I could not have chosen a more perfect time of year to be at the end of my pregnancy. (ha, chosen) Seriously, baggy sweaters, sweatshirts, and layers are wonderful. 
Weight Gain: Why did I even put this question on here? I don't know... I stopped looking at the scale when I go to the doctors office a while ago.
Showing: More than ever! My doctor said I'm still looking pretty small but that's not how I'm feeling haha.
Sleep: I LOVE sleep! Nights are beginning to get a little rougher. As expected. Finding a comfortable position can be tough but once I do find one I'm knocked out. That is, until I have to pee. Which is often.
Best moment this week: Getting little girl's room ready! We finally cleared out the furniture that was in that room and started arranging her stuff. There's not much in there but it's still feeling more and more like a nursery and that is so exciting! Plus, her crib skirt is just the sweetest thing.
Weird pregnancy moment: I never thought that people actually put their hands on your tummy without asking when you're pregnant. Turns out they do. Yeah that's been kinda weird. 
Movement: She lovessssss to move around! She still throws parties between 2 and 3 in the morning every day. She absolutely loves when daddy talks to her and gives her high fives. She wakes right up when she hears his voice, and it totally melts my heart. She's such a daddy's girl! Whenever Hunter lays his head on my tummy she kicks that exact spot. She's so excited to play with him already :) She also really loves food haha. She squirms quite a bit about 5 minutes after I'm done eating as if to say "that was good mommy, thank you!" I really love her :)
Food Cravings: Anything breakfast and fruit smoothies. Those have been around since the day I found out but now I'm also craving peppermint, dairy products (so weird, I hate dairy!), cold hot cheetos (really, I just keep them in the fridge), peanut butter, potatoes, and corn. I've never liked corn. I tolerated corn on the cob but now I don't care what shape or form it's in... I want it!
Anything making you queasy: Thoughts of the dinner I threw up when I had the stomach flu. Oh, and bad breath haha! I swear I can smell it from a mile away. It's your best bet to just chew some gum around me haha.
Gender: They're still saying it's a girl so I'm still loving picking out pretty dresses :)
Best advice learned: Your birth "plan" most likely won't go as planned. I like to make lists, know exactly what's going to happen, and exactly what needs to be done. But, since I've never done this before... I feel SO unprepared! So, it was good to hear that I just need to go in with an open mind and let nature take it's course. 
 What I'm looking forward to: My shower! It'll be a few days after Christmas and I cannot wait to feel "ready" for her to come haha. I'm also so excited to see all my friends back home! Yay!

Well, that's all for this week!
By the time I do the next update, I'll probably be much much bigger!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

He is the Gift

Monday, December 8, 2014
This Christmas has a different feel than most.
It's the first Christmas Hunter and I are spending together as husband and wife.
It's also the first Christmas season I have been away from my family members back home.
Hunter served a 2 year LDS mission so he is a bit more used to this than I am.
I'm missing picking out the tree with my dad. A tradition that's always been ours.
I'm missing wrapping the the presents my dad gets for my mom and placing them under the tree.
I'm missing the houses a few streets away from my parents that synchronized their lights to the music on the Christmas radio station.
And, I'm missing going to the mall with my mom and picking out the things I want for Christmas.
Though I do miss these things... I am of course loving being able to watch Christmas movies with Hunter, seeing lights in a whole new city, and starting traditions of our own.

Both Hunter and I loved presents growing up.
Our parents both gave pretty generous Christmases and we have very fond memories of Christmas morning. 
This year we are newlyweds, we are expecting a baby in February, Hunter is going to school full time and playing college football not on scholarship.
That being said... we don't have all the money in the world to buy fancy gifts for each other, or very many small ones.
Though we both are excited to go back home for Christmas and we are grateful that our parents are generous enough to still give us gifts, like I said before, it's just a little different this year.

This year, the excitement hasn't been focused on the presents we are going to receive.
This year has been focused on the real meaning of Christmas.
The birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I've always known that that is the real reason why we celebrate this season.
It isn't about the jolly fat man in a red suit, or the lights outside, the gingerbread houses, or the new sweater under the tree. 
But this year, it has been a whole lot easier to focus on the real meaning of Christmas rather than the commercialism that comes along with it. 

Yes we are still watching Christmas movies, our home has decorations up, and we have gotten a few small gifts for each other... but like I said before, the feeling this year is different.
In a good way.
Because "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store... maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more."

I am so incredibly grateful for the gift that is our Savior, for his infinite atonement, and for the joy I feel knowing that he loves me. 


On the Topic of Motherhood

Friday, December 5, 2014
I have pretty much, completely, stopped answering questions on the Q&A forum.
Though there were several mild questions, the terrible judgmental, "not so nice" questions took over the majority.
I also very much appreciate the sweet comments that those of you very nice people left. They warmed my heart and truly meant a lot to me.
Before Hunter came home, all that really popped up were gospel related questions.
Then we got married, and the attacks on the way we are living our life together came.
Then, I announced that we are expecting our sweet little girl.
And, that's when I couldn't take it anymore.
Yes, we received several "congrats" but the judgments just never end and this topic happens to be quite sensitive to me.
So, it's about time I spill out some of those feelings and thoughts I have been having about my journey to motherhood.
I also realize I'm on the minority end of this topic so I'll probably get many of you that will disagree with some of, if not all of what I'm about to type.
But that is okay.
Because opinions are opinions, and I happen to have one of my own.

I grew up in a mostly "normal" American family.
I have a Father, mother, sister, and brother. My grandparents on both sides were involved in our lives and we saw them for holidays and got birthday cards from them.
I attended public school and my family belonged to a non-denominational church. 
I did sports, had lots of friends, watched Disney channel, ate dinner with my family every night, played with dolls, and day dreamed about my life in the future.
I remember a time when my neighborhood friends and I were playing a game.
A game in which we were pretending to be wives and mothers.
We stuffed our shirts with pillows and laughed at how funny we would look with pregnant bellies one day.
We stuck our dolls in strollers and walked them to the park.
We pretended our husbands got home from work and made our families dinner.
We did everything we saw our own mothers and friends mothers doing each day and seemed to fantasize over the day we would become that wife and mother in the future.
I used to set up a "restaurant" in the backyard.
I would make hand-written menus and wear an apron as I took my family's orders.
I found a love for cooking and baking quite early on.
Though I certainly felt and always knew that one day I would most likely have a family of my own, and live the life I used to "pretend play", there was a time when I pushed those thoughts aside and listened to the voices around me telling me I had to do and be something "more."

When I entered middle school I remember taking a class where we had to learn how to balance checkbooks and set career goals.
I was shocked that there were so many people in that class (in 6th grade), that already knew what they wanted to do for a career.
There were girls that wanted to be famous journalists working in New York City and had ambitions of being doctors, surgeons, and engineers.
I sat there wondering if I should even write down my thoughts of "wife," "mother," "team mom," or "cupcake baker."
I felt like I would get laughed at for setting such a "low" goal because even my teacher made it clear that if you didn't end up in a successful career you were wasting away your life.

So, my neighborhood games quickly changed from playing house, to playing business woman.
I would put on my moms fancy dresses and heels and pretend to be doing paper work all day. 
I would order take out after work and go home alone to my penthouse in the city.
I would argue with people on the phone and act stressed out every second of every day.
Because, that's what real life is like... right?

It seemed to me that the world was teaching me to become something much different than what I wanted to be because the role of a mother and a housewife was becoming less and less thrilling to others.
Women are competing with men in the workforce and feeling they need to do something other than raise their children to feel a sense of empowerment. 

When I got into high school I met a boy.
A boy that just so happened to treat me respectfully and valued my personal opinions.
This boy asked me what my plans were after high school.
I wondered if I should tell him the truth, or the story I had made up and told everyone else so they wouldn't laugh at my "low" life goals.
I told him that I would really love to be a mother one day. I would love to maybe even have a small business from home so that I could take care of and raise my children without worrying about someone else doing my job in daycare. 
He respected me for that. He respected me for seeking the most real important goal in life. And, he promised me that if we one day got married, he would do everything in his power to support our family so that I could stay home and be there for our children through everything. 
I married that boy, and we are now getting ready to have our first daughter.
And, I am beyond thrilled that I found a man that respects me and supports me in my goals.

I have my own photography business, I've had my fair share of jobs, I'm a wife, and soon to be mother.
And, I have never felt any less important than my husband.
He makes me feel loved and cherished.
He praises me for my accomplishments and thanks me for all that I do.
He recognizes the importance of womanhood and motherhood and he makes sure I recognize it too.
He thanks me for being selfless enough to bear our child and never misses a night of thanking me for the dinner I prepared.
He kisses me goodbye every morning and hugs me randomly throughout the day so that I continually feel loved.
He asks for my opinions and values my responses so that I know we are equal in our marriage.
He has taken a great deal of stress off my shoulders by going to school full time and working to support our growing family.
I feel happy with him, and I know that this is the way God meant for relationships to be.

I realize that not everyone aspires to be a wife and a mother, I realize that some do aspire to do so but have struggled with infertility. 
I realize that there are many different circumstances in which lives are different than my own, and that is okay.
But, the point I wish to get across is that we really need to stop thinking that being a mother is not an important job.
In fact, I believe it is THE MOST important job.

I want my children to remember the first time they hit a home run, or scored their first goal, or sang a solo in the school play, and say "yeah, I remember my mom sitting in the front row cheering me on the whole time."
I want to be there for them at every crossroads. Whether it be going on their first date, entering middle school, or starting a new job.
I want them to remember their childhood happily with memories of a loving family and a mother who was always there for them.
I want them to know that I will always kiss them goodnight and love them unconditionally.
I want them to know that I am not their best friend, I am their parent and I will hold my ground, but I will never stop fighting for them.
I want them to remember their mom being there, and I mean fully there.
I want to see their first steps, hear their first word, and cuddle them when they need it.
I will not let someone else do that job for me.
And that is why I have chosen to stay home with my children.

I for one, will be raising my daughter telling her that marriage is a beautiful thing and starting a family is wonderful.
I will let her know that daddy loves her and mommy and wants only the best for us. 
I will explain to her that she truly can become anything she wants to be and that education is incredibly important.
I will help her see that even though women are absolutely not any "less" than men, they are definitely different and that is the way God designed us. 
I will help her see that many people have different opinions, thoughts, beliefs, and ideas and though we shouldn't judge... it is okay to be different, disagree, and stand up for what she believes. 

I can't begin to explain how excited, nervous, and overjoyed I am to begin my journey of motherhood.
I may not be looking forward to poopy diapers or sleepless nights, but I know that everything Hunter and I are about to go through, will be absolutely worth it.
Family is more important than anything else in this world and it should be cherished.
I hope and pray that this world will stop looking down upon stay at home mothers and realize that it is the greatest calling and job ever created.

All my love,
Aleigh Joy


Happy Tuesday

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
It's been a little while since I've rambled on and on during a post about recent happenings that really have no real significance or importance... but sometimes I just feel like talking. Well blogging... but same difference.

-I had been dreaming of my Thanksgiving feast since July. 
No, really. 
The thought of Mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh rolls, green bean casserole, and more gravy... made my pregnant self giddy. 
The week of Thanksgiving that's all I could think about.
 Especially since Hunter's grandmother is one of the world's best cooks. 
The night before, Hunter and I went to Target to buy pitch perfect and air heads. 
We laughed all night, then it came time to sleep. 
My tummy felt funny. 
Not baby funny, but like really not good funny. 
I laid in bed listening to Hunter breathe heavily as I wished I could just get comfortable. 
Then it came... the rumble... cue sprint to the bathroom. 
Then 5 more times. 
Then I think sometime around 4:30 am the real excitement came, and left. Really quickly. 
Everything I had eaten for dinner had left my body. 
And, I'll never eat that chicken and rice casserole again. Ever. 
I officially realized I had caught the stomach flu. 
The night before Thanksgiving. 
I felt like crying for the sake of all the mashed potatoes I so desperately wanted to eat. 
But, I couldn't even keep water down so the feast was cancelled in my world. 
Thank goodness grandma saved some leftovers for me to eat once I felt better. 
Let's make Thanksgiving a little better next year. 

-My little girl's bed skirt is the most darling creation in the entire world. 
Or at least, I think so. I can't wait to get her room all put together. 
Also, I'm 29 weeks today. 
She could easily be here in 10 weeks. 
Wow. Time. Flies. 
I'm so excited!

- I had a terrible day at work last week. 
It was kind of like Thursday mornings at our complex. 
The lawnmower guys obnoxiously wake me up. Every. Single. Thursday. 
So inconsiderate of them. 
I don't care if they're just doing their job. 
Or like trying to scrub melted cheese out of a pot. 
It gets stuck to the scrubber and there's just no way around it. 
I just love picking melty cheese off a dish scrubber.
 Cleaning cupcake tins is up there too. 
Oh, and it was really similar to going running on trash day. 
Have you ever done that? 
I have. Ew. 
Anyways, I think my daycare days have ended a few weeks earlier than expected. 
Because if I'm being honest here, I've never been treated so terribly at a job in my life. 
And I never will again. 
I so wish I could have just stormed out of that place and gave them a piece of my mind. 
But, I'm classier than that. 
And that's why I'm blogging about my frustration... HA! Jokes.

- It's a good thing I'm really going for this whole photography thing or else I would be twice as mad about said daycare incident. 
However, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and I think that reason was so I could focus on my passion. 
I love love love taking people's pictures. 
What I like even more is when they are happy with their pictures. 
I did it! I found something I love doing :) 
Even if editing has taken over my life ;)

- For some reason I went to Target on black Friday. 
Well the real reason was because I wanted to see if they had any deals on cribs. 
They didn't. But I did score $4 movies and that was totally a win.
 Plus a legit Victoria's Secret deal with leftover giftcards! 

-Can someone please tell me what I want for Christmas?? 
All I can think of is things for the little miss growing in me. I'm such a mom these days. 

- I can't believe what amazing winter weather we have had here. 
I was so prepared for terrible temperatures and I built up quite a fear of driving in the snow. 
Well, I guess it's no where near over but so far, so good! 
I can wear a light sweater and feel just fine all day :)

- Lastly, I'm so glad the rest of the world finally joined in the Christmas spirit after Thanksgiving! Even if our tree has already been up for a month, it feels a whole lot more like Christmas when everyone else participates as well :)

I guess that is all for now!
Merry Christmas everybody!
I feel so happy because our Christmas cards should be arriving tomorrow! 

All my love,
Aleigh Joy